Monday, September 18, 2017

Flannelboard: Pirates

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


I will be using this for my pirate storytime (write up coming soon!) but I wanted to get the flannelboard pictures up before Talk Like a Pirate Day! I spent far too much time making these pieces, but hopefully I will find use for them in the future. If nothing else, I can continue to do pirate themed storytimes for Talk Like a Pirate Day every year! Part of the reason I decided to do a flannelboard with five pirates instead of something like a mouse in the house variation with treasure in chests is that I wanted to make 100% sure I would have both female pirates and pirates of color in my storytime. Most books for children about pirates feature white boys as the protagonists so I thought a great way to make sure I added more diversity was to do a flannelboard with different pirates too! I've made three out of the five pirates female and each pirate has a different skin tone. The two lightest skin tones look pretty similar but they are different and I think the difference is slightly more obvious in person.

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

Flannelboard: “One Brave Pirate”

(Tune: "One Little Elephant")

One brave pirate sailed out to sea
Across the blue waters, wild and free
He had such enormous fun
That he called for another brave pirate to come.

Two brave pirates sailed out to sea
Across the blue waters, wild and free
They had such enormous fun
That they called for another brave pirate to come.

Count up to five

Five brave pirates sailed out to sea
Across the blue waters, wild and free
They had such enormous fun
As they sailed together 'neath the golden sun!

Source: modified from Storytime ABCs

Flannelboard: “Five Scurvy Pirate”

Five scurvy pirates standing on the shore,
One went on a search and that left four.

Four scurvy pirates sailing out to sea,
One went for a swim and that left three.

Three scurvy pirates out on the ocean blue,
One walked the plank and that left two.

Two scurvy pirates having tons of fun,
One went below the deck and that left one.

One scurvy pirate, tired and alone,
He turned the ship around and sailed for home.

Source: Storytime ABCs

Monday, September 11, 2017

Flannelboard: Flowers

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


I used this for my flowers and garden storytime. I am honestly not terribly thrilled with how this board turned out, but I had less time to make it than with many of my previous boards. I would like to at least add cute faces to these if I use it again, but what I'd really prefer is a flannelboard with five different types of flowers! I'm thinking rose, tulip, daffodil, delphinium, and iris. I can definitely see myself using a flower themed board again in the future, so I may update this board at that point in time.

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

“Out in the Garden”

Out in the garden
Growing in the sun
Were five pretty flowers
And I picked one!

Verses: Count down to one

Source: Mel's Desk

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Storytime: Flowers and Garden


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Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn
What Does Bunny See by Linda Sue park
Flower Garden by Eve Bunting

There are a lot of great books about flowers and gardens out there and it is a perfect theme for Spring or Summer. I did this one in late Spring, even though I'm just getting to posting it now. Plant the Tiny Seed is a fantastic interactive book if you have a small group, though it may not work as well for a larger audience. It was my favorite of the book selections for sure. I used What Does Bunny See in my bunny storytime too, but I brought it back for some of my groups who hadn't read it the first time around.

Click read more for extension activities to go with this theme.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Flannelboard: Gnomes

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


I used this for my gnome storytime. This set definitely took longer than a lot of my flannelboards, but I have a slight (okay more than slight) obsession with gnomes so I had to make it perfect. As with my superhero flannelboard, I made sure to make each gnome have a different skin tone from pale peach to dark brown and also to have both male and female gnomes represented. Most gnomes you see in artwork are white males with white beards and red hats, so I included the traditional gnome among my pieces, but there is no reason that gnomes can't come in all skin tones and hair colors! 

The list of songs and rhymes to go with this board is a bit long, so I've put it behind a cut. Click read more for gnome themed rhymes and songs to go with this cute board!

Storytime: Gnomes


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Go Big or Go Gnome by Kirsten Mayer
No, No. Gnome by Ashlyn Anstee
Lawn to Lawn by Dan Yaccarino
Good Night, Garden Gnome by Jamichael Henterly
The Tomten and the Fox by Astrid Lindgren
Pip the Gnome by Admar Kwant

We didn't actually have all of these books at my library. I bought a copy of Pip the Gnome specifically for this storytime and my personal collection at home because I love gnomes! I ended up using it for the toddler storytime, so I'm glad I had it! If you like to use music from CDs or videos with your storytimes, definitely consider using Emily Arrow's "No, No Gnome" song along with the book!

I was so exciting for this storytime that I even dressed up for it both times I ran it, with different gnome themed dresses each time! I dress up for storyimes when I can. I should really try to get more pictures of that since that is what the "lookbook" part of my blog title was supposed to be. 

For extension activities click read more.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Flannelboard: Eclipse

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


This was just a quick modification to my spaceship flannelboard that I used for my eclipse storytime. I'm actually going to be repurposing the sun to put on my song cube when I finally get around to making that too, so this is great all around for reusing parts!

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

"Where is Bright Sun?"

Bright sun, bright sun, we’ll find you soon.
Are you behind the (color) moon?

Source: I made this up myself!

Storytime: Eclipse (Sun and Moon)


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Sun & Moon: A Giant Love Story by Lisa Desimini
Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey
What the Sun Sees/What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
Sun and Moon Sisters by Kho LĂȘ
Whose Moon is That? by Kim Krans

I have a backlog of other storytime posts to get to, but I wanted to share the eclipse one while it is still relevant! My library is not in the path of totality, but we are getting over 99% coverage with the eclipse coming up on Monday. As such, a lot of the people in the area are very excited about the eclipse. I thought it was only fitting that I do a Sun and Moon themed storytime in celebration. I was even able to find one book that has an eclipse as a central part of the story: Sun & Moon: A Giant Love Story! The rest of the books are simply about the sun and moon. I found a lot of songs about the sun and moon and modified lyrics to some of them to be more eclipse related. For those songs and other extension activities click read more.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ukulele: Snuggle Puppy Chord Chart

I'm starting a baby storytime soon and one book I'm very excited to use for it is Sandra Boynton's Snuggle Puppy. Of course, I wanted to learn how the song for the book went and the next step was to learn how to play it on the ukulele! This song uses some new chords that the other songs I've outlined so far do not:  A, A7, and D, in addition to the G chord that you already know. Here are the fingering charts for those chords:

Fingering charts from Coustii

Since I am now in the habit of making cute chord charts for all the songs I play in storytime, I had to make one for Snuggle Puppy too, even if it was a lot harder to fit the whole song on one page! The book does not have the repeat at the end of the chorus the second time it is sung, so that's how I made my chord chart so caregivers could read along with the book while I play.

Source: Snuggle Puppy song lyrics are by Sandra Boynton and the music is by Eric Stolz. Thank you to Christy Shink on the Librarians with Ukes Facebook group for providing me with the chords!

It's a little difficult to read the chords in the jpg image, but they are much clearer in the pdf version. Feel free to download the pdf from my Google drive and use it for your own storytimes if you would like!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Flannelboard: Cats

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


I used this flannelboard for my cat storytime. I loved Stack the Cats so much that I based the cats for my flannelboard off of the illustrations for the book! I'd love to make even more cats in this style at some point so I can do the whole book as a felt story.

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

“Five Little Cats”

Five little cats playing near the door, one ran inside and that left 4.
Four little cats underneath a tree, one heard a dog bark and that left 3.
Three little cats wondering what to do, one saw a little bird and that left 2.
Two little cats sitting in the sun, one ran to catch his tail and that left 1.
One little cat looking for some fun, he saw a butterfly and then there were none!

Flannelboard: Robots

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


I used this flannelboard for my robot storytime. I really love how this one turned out and if I have time in the future I might make more robots in a similar style for a robot counting flannelboard as well!

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

“Where is Robot?”

Robot, robot, we know you’re here!
Are you behind the (color) gear?

Source: I made this one up myself!

Another "Mouse in the House" variation, which are always popular with my group!

Storytime: Cats


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Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani
Where is Tippy Toes? by Betsy Lewin
Cat Nap by Toni Yuly
Is There a Dog in This Book? by Viviane Schwarz
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Quackers by Liz Wong

After this storytime, Stack the Cats became one of my new favorite books!

For extension activities click read more.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ukulele: Picked a Berry Chord Chart

I made another chord chart for a song I used my berry storytime (write-up coming soon™) so, as promised, I am sharing it with all of you! This is a sweet little song about picking berries. You can add additional verses with different berries in them. Strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry are all great options!

The song is to the tune of "Oh My Darling Clementine" which is in 3/4 time as noted in the bottom corner of the sheet. Keep that in mind when you choose a strum pattern. when I play it, I use D-DUDU.

Feel free to download the pdf from my Google Drive and use it for your own story times!

Monday, June 26, 2017

New Storytime Write-ups

Pretty soon I will be posting a huge backlog of storytime write-ups. Because these are older storytime plans, I probably won't go into much detail about with how it went or about which books and songs on the list that I ended up using for each storytime. I just want to get them all written up and posted ASAP so I can get back on track with my blog updates. I might end up doing less extensive write-ups in the future too and just post a list of books, songs, and rhymes for each theme so I can get the posts up more quickly. Hopefully this still works well for anyone who follows me. I figured it's better to get shorter posts up than let a backlog of drafts languish while I work on write-ups!

Ukulele: Random Song Activity


I finally mustered up the courage to start playing ukulele during storytime and it was magical! I am by no means a great ukulele player, but children's songs are quite simple to play and the kids and caregivers enjoy it even if you aren't great. When I brought out my uke for the first time the kids were enthralled. I think we could have probably done this activity for the entire storytime if I had wanted to. They were that into it! If you have a ukulele and haven't used it for storytime yet, do it! If you don't have a ukulele I definitely recommend getting one. I have a ukulele beginner's guide that I wrote after buying my first ukulele to help get you started. The ukulele I bought for myself is not the one I use for storytimes though. I was fortunate enough to have some grant money left over to buy a ukulele to keep at the library. I bought a durable polycarbonate ukulele from Outdoor Ukulele for my in-house uke. I'll do a review of their ukuleles later!

I came up with a really fun way to get the kids involved in the ukulele activity beyond just singing. Eventually I will be making a song cube, but for now I put icons representing each song in a bowl and have the kids pull one out to decide what we should play. Almost all of the songs I chose to use are pretty ubiquitous children's songs. Because they were such familiar songs, the kids could easily tell what the song was just from the simple icon on the paper.


I chose six different songs to use for this activity, though I'll come up with more to use in the future to help keep things fresh! The songs I used are:

  1. Pop! goes the Berry
  2. You Are My Sunshine
  3. I'm a Little Teapot
  4. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  5. Itsy Bitsy Spider
  6. Mary Had a Little Lamb
All of these songs can be played with just three chords: C, F, and G

Fingering charts from Coustii

In all of these songs you can replace the G chord with the G7 chord if you prefer it. I used to find G7 much easier to play than G. Some of these songs had G7 instead of G when I looked up the chords, but after practicing other songs, I find G easier to transition to, so I switched it for my preference. Use whichever you are more comfortable with! There will be songs where you can't switch G and G7 and still have it sound right, but I have yet to find a children's song where this is the case!

For chord charts for six different songs, click read more!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Storytime: Robots


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~*1 Robot Lost his Head by Marc Rosenthal
*Bitty Bot by Tad McCanna
~*Hello, Robots by Bob Staake
~Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley
Junkyard by Mike Austin
Sometimes I forget You’re a Robot by Sam Brown

I'm finally finishing this write up though I did the storytime quite a while ago. Books marked with ~ were used for the toddler storytime and ones marked with a * were used for the preschool storytime. There are tons of great books about robots out there so this was a really fun storytime to do! I was inspired to do the theme when I saw Bitty Bot on on the return shelf waiting to be re-shelved in the children's area. It looked so cute and I thought there must be some other fantastic robot books out there. Hello, Robots has some great silly mishaps, so it's a lot of fun to read and have the kids tell you what the robots are doing wrong.

Click read more for extension activities

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I am very behind with my storytime write-ups currently. I have about three new themes to post about! May is a busy time of year with Summer Reading prep, as I'm sure you all know, so I've let my blogging fall to the wayside. I hope to get some new things up by this weekend and also update some old posts with new pictures.

This week, I may be making my ukulele debut at storytime, so we'll see how that goes! I'm pretty excited and I'l sure I'll have lots to write about that, if I can just find the time to do so!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Art in Action: Matisse

Before I started working in libraries, my background was in art and art education. I've been wanting to start a monthly art program here at the library for a while, and finally got to run my first one. I was looking for a catchy title and eventually decided to call it Art in Action! I hope the title helps emphasize the hands-on approach to learning art. Each month we will read about a different artist and then explore their style while creating our own works of art. The program is geared towards elementary and middle school students, so an older age range than would come to a typical storytime. I'm continually searching for programming that will be engaging for older kids as well.

For the first program, I wanted to do something fairy simple as far as what supplies we would need and something that could be adapted for a wide range of ages since I didn't know how many people to expect or what age group would come to the program. I chose to look at Matisse and focus on his later paper collage work. Older children could cut complex shapes, but young children could still participate by tearing paper if they weren't comfortable with scissors.


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*Mr. Matisse and His Cutouts by Annemarie van Haeringen
*Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman
Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter
A Bird or Two by Bijon Le Tord
Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors by Keesia Johnson
The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan

Books with a * are ones I read or used the most for the program, though I had all the books out and available for people to browse through for inspiration.

I was really pleased with the number of picture books available about Matisse. He made for a great first subject for my program! The first three books on this list focus exclusively on Matisse’s cut paper works, which were the works I wanted to focus on for this program. I especially like Matisse’s Garden because it has large foldout pages that show images of Matisse’s actual art and the illustrations are also cut paper, which was very inspiring for making our own collage art. A Bird or Two and Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors provide nice basic overviews of Matisse’s life and The Iridescence of Birds focuses on Matisse’s childhood and how his mother helped influence and inspire his creativity.

Click read more for my art project ideas and sample images.